Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Have you made the kingdom committment?

   When foreigners desire to become citizens of the United States of America, they are required to take an oath the United States, like most other governments, will not allow those who wish to become citizens  apply for citizenship. To straddle the fence. Naturalized citizens can't claim that their loyalty and allegiance belong to the United States if they retain allegiance to some foreign government. Our government wont allow that. It wants undivided loyalty from any who apply for citizenship.
   So it should come as no surprise that Jesus the King requires similar loyalty from those who wish to apply for citizenship in His kingdom.  In fact, He demands an even greater degree of loyalty:"He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.    ...He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. He who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses life for My sake will find it....whoever of you does not forsake all that he has cannot be My disiciple"(Mt. 12:30, 10:37-39; Luke 14:33).

   The United States does not require persons to forsake all they have to become citizens. But Jesus does. In His Kingdom, there can be no divided loyalties. Jesus will not be relegated to a subservient role by anyone or any thing. He requires all or nothing. In fact, thats the very reason Jesus tells us to count the cost before deciding to join His kingdom. "For which of you intending to build a tower, does not sit down first and count the cost, whether he has enough to finish it---lest, after he has laid the foundation, and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, "This man began to build and was not able to finish."(Luke 14:28-30). Jesus has no desire for us to start something we wont finish."No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God"(Luke 9:62).
   If we truly understand the kingdom and grasp what it means, it will be more precious to us then anything we own. : The kingdom of Heave is like treasure hiddden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells al lthat he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls, went and sold all that he had and bought it"(Mt. 13:44-46).
   Actually, in times of war, even earthly governments expect their citizens to put loyalty to their country ahead of every other loyalty, including their own families. It sometimes happens in times of war that fathers an sons fight against each other and that soldiers kill their own brothers. In fact, during war, earthly kingdoms expect their citizens to lay down their lives if necessary for the good of their country. Any real government expects this type of loyalty from its citizens.  
   Jesus expects no less. Why? Because His kingdom is a real kingdom. And unlike earthly kingdoms, the kingdom of God is always at war(Eph. 6:12). As Jesus said, "Do not think that I came to bring peace but a sword. For  I have come to set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a mans enemies will be those of his own household. (Mt. 10:34-36).
   Jesus requires of His citizens the same level of loyalty, love, and commitment that fervent patriots give their countries during times of war---if not higher. Being a citizen of the kingdom of God is not fun and games---its serious business. "He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life"(John 12:25).  

More later this week...
Love to all who read...

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